Returns from exile to become Army’s No 2


by Shamindra Ferdinando


Maj. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake has succeeded Maj. Gen. Channa Goonatilleke as the Army Chief of Staff. The latter retired on March 1.

Having fled the country in the wake of January 2010 presidential poll, Senanayake returned immediately after Maithripala Sirisena’s victory at the last presidential election in January 2015.

Senanayake Senanayake held the post of Security Forces Commander, Jaffna since January 2016 before receiving appointment as the Army Chief of Staff. Senanayake is the 50th Chief of Staff of the Army.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration overlooked several officers above Senanayake in making the appointment.

Having joined the Army in Oct. 1981 before the conflict, Senanayake, an old Anandian received posting to Engineers as Second Lieutenant. Incumbent Commander Lt. Gen. Crishanthe de Silva, too, served the Engineers.

Senanayake is likely to be the next Commander of the Army.

Within 48 hours after the change of government in January 2015, Senanayake and Brigadier Duminda Keppetiwalana returned from overseas. In the immediate aftermath of January 2010 presidential polls, the previous government caused some officers to retire while some others left the country.

Senanayake also served the Special Forces in the capacity as Squadron Commander of 1st Special Forces Regiment and later commanded the 3rd Special Forces Regiment.

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